I've heard intermittent thumps and squeaks from the pests in my attic since I moved into this apartment, but this winter has been particularly loud. I have heard them fighting, chasing each other, and having brief but joyous rodent-sex.
Sex I can handle, but I draw the line at chewing, especially when it's done just above my bedroom. I have told the landlords several times that something is chewing up their property but they always act as though I'm saying something obscene in a foreign language; they smile and nod in a non-committal way and then ask me for the rent cheque.
My neighbours last year said that the landlords denied that anything was actually IN the attic, blaming our reports on structural settlage, overactive imaginations, or perhaps ghosts.
This afternoon -- while taking a nap before tonight's drag show -- I was rudely awakened by cacophonous chewing above my bedroom ceiling. Banging on the walls and yelling "shut up!" didn't stop it. Earplugs and box fans were useless. No, I was at the mercy of the Creatures in the Attic, and I was determined to finally get photographic proof of their presence, and also to verify that they were actually squirrels (and not raccoons...they stay up awfully late).
Getting into the attic isn't easy or fun. I need to remove the shelving in a tiny closet -- first finding a place for hundreds of tubes of lipstick and nailpolish bottles -- then contort myself up through a hole that is otherwise blocked by a piece of wood. By the time I'd done this the chewing was still going on.
With camera and flashlight I poked my head into the attic, and here's the monster who was waiting for me:
Awww, cute! Noisy! Destructive! Territorial!
While his invisible sex-buddy continued non-chalantly chewing in one of the corners, this guy circled me several times, seeming more baffled than angry. He made that "chattery" sound that squirrels sometimes make, as if to say "yeah, I'm definitely a squirrel, and I DO like to stay up late."
Then he darted in for the kill:
When you're hanging by your elbows on a thin wooden ledge, your body twisted into a cramp-inducing L-shape, wearing only a robe and with your hands busy with both flashlight and camera, you get a little spooked when wild animals dart at you. Terrified, I shouted "NO!" and he ran away.
I'm going to send these pictures to my landlords and I'll write a typically polite email about it. When I don't receive a reply I'll wait until they come to collect my rent, and then I'll hand them print-outs of the pictures and say "there are squirrels in the attic, and they're chewing holes in the building."
I know what'll happen next. The landlords will nod and smile and walk right back out the door. Later, they'll show the pictures to their children and say "look at these imaginary things, I wonder what they are and where they live?"